ATHLETICS: BBC claims back IAAF World Championships rights from Channel 4

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BBC Sport has won back the rights to broadcast the IAAF World Athletics Championships from Channel 4.

The corporation will take over coverage of the event in Beijing in four years time and the 2017 championships in London, after claiming exclusive free-to-air rights to all World Series Athletics events from 2014 to 2017.

The new BBC deal comes after the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), of which the corporation is a member, regained the honour of distributing broadcast rights to member nations on behalf of athletics’ world governing body.

The IAAF decided to market the rights directly to individual broadcasters via an agency for the 2011 and 2013 championships, leading to the Channel 4 deal last autumn.

Channel 4 screened the biggest athletics event outside of the Olympics for the first time this year (Daegu 2011).

But the broadcaster’s coverage came in for heavy criticism from viewers, particularly the over the appointment of presenter Ortis Deley, and the frequency of commercial breaks during the live action.

Deley, who had virtually no experience in live sports broadcasting, was dropped midway through the championships after a series of embarrasing on-air blunders.

Channel 4 still has the broadcast rights to the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow, and is expected to honour its contract.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “We’re delighted that the World Championships will be returning to the BBC.

“The 2017 Championships, taking place at London’s Olympic Stadium will be a huge moment for UK athletics, helping to deliver the Olympic legacy, and we’re thrilled to be bringing the event to our audiences.”

IAAF president Lamine Diack added: “The EBU has been our partner for every edition of the IAAF World Championships from their creation in 1983 right through until 2009 and we are delighted to be partners again.

“This agreement not only secures the financial future of the athletics’ movement until the end of 2017 but is also strategic for IAAF in guaranteeing maximum coverage of our premium events in key territories.”

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